August 2017

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t m c » p u l s e | a u g u s t 2 0 1 7 6 "Be smarter about planning your exercise," Gandler said. "Don't push yourself as hard, make injury preven- tion a priority and fuel up with protein to build muscle." Maintaining physical activity helps in the healing process should you fall or break a bone, she said. And when a doc- tor puts a patient on an exercise plan to keep from getting a blood clot, for example, a more active person will have less trouble moving around than a per- son who is mostly sedentary. Exercise should be a mix of cardio, strength training and improving flexibility. Following exercise, a good recovery plan will decrease the chance of an injury. Gandler recommends taking a day off between heavy exercise sessions, or at least focusing on a lighter intensity exercise to avoid over-stressing the body. In addition, exercising in the heat requires water and rest for recovery, she added. Common injuries she sees are knee problems, the result of other areas of the body—including the core, hips and glutes—being weak. Shoulder injuries and Achilles tendon strains are also prevalent. "As we get older, we think we are still 20, so we tend to ignore signals that say something hurts," Gandler said. "But you need to listen to your body. There are days when you will feel great, but there are days when you won't, espe- cially if you don't recover correctly." Starting around age 40, people lose between 3 to 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade if they don't do some form of physical activity. In addition, schedules tend to get busier as we age, so we become more prone to skipping meals, which can pose a metabolic challenge. You need to balance your food intake to efficiently burn calories throughout the day. "It makes it more difficult to manage your weight, especially in the midsection, so people in that age range tend to pack on the belly fat," said Kari Kooi, a registered dietitian nutrition- ist with Houston Methodist Weight Management Center. Muscle mass helps drive the body's basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the num- ber of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest. Even if you Fit After 50 Make time for exercise, read food labels and sleep, experts say B y C h r i s t i n e H a l l B y the end of his professional football career in the 1990s, Mark Adickes weighed about 325 pounds. Pretty typical for a 6-foot-5-inch lineman. It was also pretty typical for him to gain some "sympathy weight" with his wife during her five pregnancies. "The next thing I know, I'm working hard as an orthopedic surgeon and find- ing it very difficult to work out," said Adickes, chief of the division of sports medicine and associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. "I'm 345 pounds, and I read an article—I was 50 years old at the time, now I'm 56—that says, 'whatever you weigh when you are 50 is what you are going to weigh when you die.'" The article was upsetting to him, to say the least. While playing for the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins, he spent hours working out, pushing himself further and further for longer periods of time. When he stopped playing professional football, he didn't feel like pushing himself as far or spending hours working out. Before Adickes knew it, a month would go by without exercising. So when his daughter challenged him to work out for 30 days in a row, he accepted. But finding time to do it was tough. Adickes started his days quite early—clinics began at 7 a.m. and oper- ating room days started at 6 a.m. Often, he had to leave the house by 5:30 a.m.; getting up at 3 a.m. to exercise was just not an option. "I made a deal with my wife that the minute I walk in the door, I would go upstairs and work out," he said. After that 30-day challenge, and down some pounds, he found that he felt better, he slept better, his food tasted better and even the air smelled better. Adickes turned his weight around in his 50s. Get moving Fifty-year-olds can work out like 20- or 30-year-olds, but the way they fuel their bodies and recover from that fitness becomes an important part of the exer- cise regimen, said Kimberly Gandler, human performance coordinator with Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute. I'm in the best shape I've been since playing professional sports. — MARK ADICKES, M.D. Chief of the division of sports medicine and associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine

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